Travelers heading to Scotland have several options when it comes to flying. The country has six main airports, some with international offerings and some with mostly regional options. Where you fly in and out of depends on where you'll be traveling in the country. Whether you are visiting Edinburgh or Glasgow, or heading up to the Highlands, there are pros and cons to Scotland's main six airports.
- Location: The Ingliston area of Edinburgh, just west of the city.
- Best If: You're visiting central Edinburgh or traveling internationally.
- Avoid If: You're heading to Glasgow.
- Distance to Edinburgh Castle: Edinburgh Castle is about 9 miles from the airport, accessible by taxi in less than 30 minutes (depending on traffic) at a cost of 23 pounds to 29 pounds. The tram or bus is also an option.
Edinburgh Airport is Scotland's busiest airport, connecting the city with destinations all over the world via dozens of major and budget airlines. The airport has a good number of amenities, including fast food and sit-down restaurants and a Wetherspoons pub. There's also shopping, including duty-free, and there are three lounges, with one for qualifying British Airlines passengers.
While Edinburgh Airport can be busy, it's confined to one terminal and fairly easy to navigate when it comes to check-in and security. Check the airport's website for live security line wait times and be sure to arrive early if you're flying out of the U.K. as you'll need to go through passport control.
To get to and from the airport from Edinburgh, travelers can take a tram, bus taxi or Uber, or opt to rent a car from one of nine companies in the rental center at the airport. There is also a chauffeur service for those who prefer to travel in luxury.
- Location: The town of Paisley, west of Glasgow city center.
- Best If: You're traveling internationally to and from Scotland.
- Avoid If: You want a budget fare to Europe.
- Distance to Glasgow: It's a quick ride from the airport to downtown Glasgow, with a taxi or bus taking only 15 minutes. A taxi is about 16.50 pounds, with the Glasgow Airport Express bus costing 8.50 pounds.
Also known as Glasgow International Airport, Glasgow Airport is one of two airports in the city. It connects Glasgow with the U.K., Europe, and, most importantly, many of Scotland's smaller airports. It's served by several airlines—including KLM, British Airways, and United—and it's often used as a gateway hub for cruise travelers leaving from Bergen, Norway. It also connects directly with the U.S., with several direct flights to the East Coast daily.
Inside Glasgow Airport you'll find two lounges and numerous shopping and dining options. Allow enough time to get through security when traveling on the weekends or during the holidays as it can be busy.
There are several buses to and from Glasgow Airport, including the Glasgow Airport Express service 500. There is also a train station a mile from the airport, and taxis are readily available outside the terminals. Rent a car from several companies on arrival if you're traveling beyond Glasgow or heading up to the Highlands.
- Location: South Ayrshire, 32 miles away from Glasgow's city center.
- Best If: You want budget connecting flights to Europe.
- Avoid If: You're traveling to and from the U.S.
- Distance to Glasgow: A taxi to downtown Glasgow runs between 49 pounds and 67 pounds, depending on traffic and the number of passengers. It's more economical to take the train into the central part of the city, especially if your luggage is manageable.
Glasgow's second airport is Glasgow Prestwick Airport, located much farther away from downtown Glasgow. It's a smaller airport than its counterpart, primarily hosting flights to and from Europe, particularly Spain and Italy. There are a few restaurants and shops, but Glasgow Prestwick Airport isn't known for its amenities and there's only one dining option located past security. Due to its compact size and low-key flight schedule, it's not necessary to arrive too far ahead of your flight.
Travelers who aren't renting a car can take the Stagecoach Western X77 Express Service bus into Glasgow, or opt for a train from the airport to Glasgow Central Station. There are also available taxis from a company called Streamline Taxis, although visitors should be prepared for a higher fare since Glasgow isn't super close.
- Location: The Aberdeen suburb of Dyce, northwest of the city.
- Best If: You're driving to Cairngorms National Park.
- Avoid If: You're visiting the western side of Scotland or the Highlands.
- Distance to Aberdeen: Aberdeen city center is 7 miles by taxi from the airport and costs about 17 pounds. Other options include the local bus (look for service number 747 outside the terminal).
Aberdeen Airport is relatively small and best for those specifically visiting either Aberdeen or destinations in the northeast of Scotland, like Cairngorms National Park. It's an international airport, connecting travelers to Europe and the U.K., particularly destinations in Scandinavia. Several British Airways flights connect from London into Aberdeen.
The airport features one terminal with some shopping, fast service restaurants, and three airline lounges, but don't expect as many amenities as you'd find in a bigger airport. There are several car rental options, including Avis and Hertz, and it's recommended to book a car in advance of your trip. To get into Aberdeen from the terminal, take a bus or taxi, or head to nearby Dyce to catch a train from the local station.
- Location: About 15 miles from downtown Inverness.
- Best If: You are visiting the Scottish Highlands or Loch Ness.
- Avoid If: You prefer airports with a lot of amenities.
- Distance to Loch Ness: Loch Ness is the most popular destination near Inverness Airport and can be found 25 miles south of the airport via taxi. The drive is about 30 minutes and costs 50 to 65 pounds, depending on the time of day and traffic. The 919 bus is also available for visitors.
Inverness Airport is very small, with only a few gates and sparse flights throughout the day. Travelers should arrive an hour or less ahead of a flight because check-in and security are so quick, and there's very little to do inside the airport itself. Only seven airlines operate from the airport, some on very small planes, connecting travelers to the rest of the U.K. and parts of Europe via British Airways, EasyJet, and KLM. Some of the main destinations include London, Manchester, Amsterdam, and Dublin.
Inverness Airport best place to fly into when traveling around the Highlands or to the Isle of Skye. Look for taxis or buses outside the terminal to access Inverness, or head to Inverness Train Station to connect with various cities around Scotland. There are also two car rental desks within the airport: Avis and Europcar.
Note that the airport is not open 24 hours, so it's best to check the hours online if you need to arrive early or kill time between flights. There is no storage for luggage at the airport itself, so head to Inverness Train Station if you need to leave your bags for a few hours.
- Location: A mile south of Dundee.
- Best If: Traveling to the Highlands or Dundee itself.
- Avoid If: Your itinerary features the western area of the Highlands.
- Distance to St. Andrews: St. Andrews (and its iconic golf course) can be found 15 miles south of Dundee Airport, approximately 30 to 45 pounds. The 99 bus route also connects the airport with the nearby city.
Known as the gateway to the Highlands, Dundee Airport is a small airport just outside the city of Dundee, located on the east coast of Scotland. It primarily offers flights to and from Belfast and London, so most travelers will need to connect in a bigger city when visiting Scotland. It is an extremely sparse airport, with only one cafe in the departures area and no shops.
Most visitors rent a car when arriving at Dundee Airport, although you can also take a train from Dundee to your next destination or pre-book a taxi for pick-up outside the airport. Be sure to reserve your rental car in advance online before traveling as there aren't always many options upon arrival.